Thursday, September 06, 2007

Tips for Saturday's Games

A look inside the number.....every week I pick up some sports tip sheet....this week it was Point are their top plays in college football this week....
Best Play 1 - Arizona State over Colorado by 27 points - jump on the Erickson bandwagon
Best Play 2 - Michigan State over Bowling Green by 31 - BG upset Minnesota last week, but they will not take down another Big 10 team.....

Here are their calls on Saturday’s big games....
- Nebraska over Wake Forest 35-18
- Oklahoma over Miami 31-13
- Ohio State over Akron 38-10
- Alabama over Vanderbilt 27-24 - a close one here!!
- Boston College over N.C. State 27-20

- Michigan over Oregon 38-27
- Georgia over South Carolina 27-25
- Penn State over Notre Dame 34-10
- UCLA over BYU 34-24
- Texas over TCU 26-20
- Auburn over S. Florida 24-22
- LSU over Va. Tech 23-17

Here are some updated articles about two other big games this week....
TCU at Texas
Fort Worth Star sports columnist Gil Lebreton writes that Texas better not underestimate the Horned Frogs of TCU..... “You don't have to remind TCU of the evils of NCAA football profiling. The storyline of this week, however, is going to be whether the proud Texas Longhorns have learned the same.” ....

  • Gil Lebreton

  • Austin American-Statesman sports columnist Cedric Golden writes how Longhorns fans better get used to close games this year..... “Can you remember the last time the Longhorns worked an opponent like a part-time job? The last time a team left Royal-Memorial Stadium with its psyche crushed like a stray grape during rush hour on Interstate 35?” ....
  • Cedric Golden

  • North Carolina State at Boston College
    Raleigh News and Observer reporter Chip Alexander writes how new N.C. State and former Boston College head coach Tom O’Brien has a lot going on this week - especially after a season opening loss...... “O'Brien, ever the old Marine, insists he's not the sentimental type. Yet he realizes this week's game will be different. He spent the past 10 years at Boston College, building a program from the ruins, teaching players to be men, winning games, going to bowls, making so many close friends.” .....

  • Chip Alexander

  • Boston Herald reporter Steve Conroy writes about Tom O’Brien’s return to the Northeast.... “Tom O’Brien made it clear that he’s a lot more concerned with his struggling North Carolina State team than what his emotions will be like when he returns to Alumni Stadium on Saturday.” ....
  • Steve Conroy
  • Wednesday, September 05, 2007

    Articles on this week's college games

    Oregon at Michigan
    The Portland Oregonian reporter John Hunt writes that Oregon feels they have a favorable match-up with Michigan, but are concerning how the Wolverines will react from their disastrous loss.... “And over here in Oregon, the Ducks enter Michigan week with a sense that they not only belong in college football's Big House but also that they match up pretty well against the Wolverines.” ....
  • John Hunt

  • Detroit Free Press reporter Shannon Shelton writes how Michigan’s historic debacle was the talk of the Big Ten.... “Around the Big Ten, coaches are talking about the lessons their teams can take from the Wolverines' loss to the Division I-AA Mountaineers. They are talking about the importance of preparation, a respect for the talent level of every opponent and recognition of the growing parity in the sport's top two classifications.” ....
  • Shannon Shelton

  • Miami (Fla) at Oklahoma
    Miami Herald reporter Susan Miller Degnan writes about the good old times between The U and Oklahoma..... “The day was Sept. 27, 1986, and Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer was through with the Miami Hurricanes -- or so he thought.” ....
  • Susan Miller Degnan

  • Norman Transcript reporter Clay Horning writes how Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops thinks he has a special group of players..... “There’s just something about this bunch of Sooners. Something about how even the second and third teamers came into a game long since decided the other night and still played with focus, intensity and, virtually, mistake free.” .....
  • Clay Horning

  • Notre Dame at Penn State
    Notre Dame beat writer Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune writes that the Golden Boy - Jimmy Clausen - has the job as starting quarterback..... “Allegedly all the gray areas concerning the quarterback position -- a constant since Brady Quinn exhausted his college eligibility on Jan. 3 -- are gone now.” ....
  • Eric Hansen

  • State College Centre Times reporter Jeff Rice writes how the Penn State defense remembers how they were manhandled last year in South Bend.... “It was the only game of 2006, the only game since 2004, really, in which the Penn State defense was the bug, not the windshield.” ....
  • Jeff Rice

  • South Carolina at Georgia
    Columbia State reporter Joseph Person writes how the Ole Ball Coach is going to make some changes to his starting lineup..... “As he discussed his team’s warts and other unpleasantries, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier several times reminded reporters — and himself — the Gamecocks won their season opener. After all, things could be worse for Spurrier. He could be Lloyd Carr.” .....
  • Joseph Person

  • Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter Jeff D’Alessio writes how people love to loathe Steve Spurrier.... “But if you think UGA fans loathe "Darth Visor" any less now that he's running a less-threatening SEC East program, you're nuts. "The Old Ball Coach" is still public enemy No. 1, as our survey of Bulldogs fans showed.” ....
  • Jeff D’Alessio
  • Tuesday, September 04, 2007

    Interview with Scott Rabalais of the Baton Rouge Advocate

    On Thursday, August 30th, I had the opportunity to interview Scott Rabalais of the Baton Rouge Advocate....Scott is the beat writer for LSU football and was on his way to Starkville, Mississippi to cover the LSU-Mississippi State game.....our interview focused on LSU football, Tigers head coach Les Miles, and the return of Nick Saban to the SEC.....

    Q1. A lot of the preview magazines have LSU ranked either second or third in the nation with their strengths being defense and offensive line. However, they did lose these skill position players, JaMarcus Russell, Craig Davis, and Dwayne Bowe. What do you think about LSU and how are they are going to replace those players?
    SR: I think the rankings are justified. Everyone has USC number one, but the teams behind them all have some type of questions. LSU just has so much back on defense which is a lot of the reason for the ranking. But they do have some question marks on offense. Everyone wants to see how (Matt) Flynn performs at quarterback and who takes over the running back position. LSU is also benefitting from a "what have you done for me lately." Well, the last thing they did was finish with a six/seven game winning streak and polished off Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

    Q2. Matt Flynn (photo) will be the starter at quarterback this year. However, what is the deal with Ryan Perrilloux. He was so highly recruited coming out of high school but he has never become that star like he was supposed to be.
    SR: There is a lot there with him. He was questioned about a federal counterfeiting investigation. He was not charged or accused, but his name came up. He was then suspended for using his brother's driver's license to go on a riverboat casino. He is now back on the team and looks to be the number two quarterback. We just have not seen much of what he supposedly can do. The people who saw him play in high school said he is one of those unique talents - running and throwing. He needs to use better judgement because Ryan has put himself into some bad situations. With all that being said, if he keeps his nose clean, he will probably be the starting quarterback next year. He has a little growing up to do between now and then. I don't think anyone's ever questioned his ability, but they have questioned his judgement and leadership ability.

    Q3. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey has received so much praise in the preview magazines. Is he the real deal? Can he play at the next level?
    SR: He is continuing that streak at LSU where at least one defensive lineman has been named to the All-American team. There is also Tyson Jackson who is a defensive end who may be even better than Dorsey. These two players (Dorsey and Jackson) remind me of the two dominant Alabama lineman, (John) Copeland and (Eric) Curry, back in the early 1990s when they won the national title. It seems like this could be a similar team for LSU in which they get it done on defense but not hurt yourself on offense.

    Glenn though is a good kid to talk to. He is very humble. Often times he can't believe that everyone is talking about him for all these awards. He deserves to be an All-American. I think he will have the desire and ability to make it in the NFL even more so than some of the other defensive linemen who have come through LSU. He played through a lot of pain last year with something like a small fracture in his shin. No one really knew about it though because he played through the pain and didn't complain. He has the drive to make it in the NFL.

    Q4. I want to talk a bit about head coach Les Miles. There has been talk across the nation that LSU fans are waiting for that big win under Miles. What is the attitude and feeling about Miles?
    SR: Well a lot of the attitudes changed on January 3rd when Nick Saban took the Alabama job. Until then, a lot of the LSU fans were still pining for Saban. And some still are. They are hoping that "maybe he will come back." But for the most part, LSU fans now realize that Nick is now the enemy. He is trying to beat LSU and trying to take their recruits. So now the feeling is that "Les is our guy." Despite all the success over the last few years, anything less than a 10 win season is not acceptable. But a lot of people still say that Les has been winning with Nick's players. But they forget that Nick's first SEC championship came with players like Rohan Davey and Josh Reed who were recruits from Gerry DiNardo. Les is starting to get his due, but there are people who feel that if Lloyd Carr leaves Michigan after this season and Les gets the job, the feeling will be "well, thanks Les and good luck, but we can get someone better." But the guy has done well. He is not flashy. Is he as good of a coach as Saban, no, but he has probably a better staff around him and he has recruited well.

    Q5. What type of person is Les Miles?
    SR: He's very passionate. He's generally laid back and easy going. He does not do a lot of yelling and screaming ala Nick Saban. But he is driven in his own way. He is more humble, more unassuming. He is kind of vague with his quotes. What you see is what you get with Les. He is a blue-collar Midwestern guy. He's an Ohio native and Michigan grad. He's making around $1.8 million this year, which is not bad, but he is not making the $4 million that Saban is making. From a journalist's standpoint, he (Les) is not always forthcoming with information or injury updates. But he is genuine. Saban comes off more slick, polished, and prepared, but not really interested in you. Every year the LSU football coach speaks at the local Rotary Club before the season. Saban is the type of guy who looks over the top of the audience and not make eye contact; Miles is the type who does make eye contact and acknowledge people in the audience. Some may feel that Saban's way is the way a coach should be, but you can't argue with the numbers that Les has put up so far.

    Q6. LSU lost their offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher (photo) to Florida State. Do you believe that Fisher will become a head coach one day?
    SR: I think that is part of the reason he left LSU. Another reason he left is that Miles and his (Fisher) philosophy never meshed. I think Miles was asked to keep Jimbo around as part of taking the job. Jimbo was well liked by the players and he was a good recruiter. But I think he also left to broaden his resume and possibly take over for Bobby Bowden. I don't know if he has a shot of getting the job at Florida State when Bowden steps down, but it is a possibility.

    He (Fisher) is very Bowden-like. He coached under Terry Bowden at Auburn. He's very fast delivery and has that little drawl. He is very engaging and has that personality that people like. But yeh, I could see him being a head coach. He is in his early 40s. Is it going to be Florida State? I don't know. He has turned down a couple of smaller jobs. So he may be waiting for a big job ala Mark Richt at Georgia.

    Q7. I have to finally ask you about Nick Saban. What was the feeling down in Baton Rouge after he became the head coach at Alabama?
    SR: LSU fans felt betrayed. People understood, they weren't happy, but they understood when left to go coach the Miami Dolphins. Everyone knew that he would probably leave one day for an NFL job. He had to give it a try at that level and he found out that is not what he wanted. LSu fans would not have cared if he took, say the North Carolina job or another job. But Nick just did not come back to college football. He came back to an SEC school in the same division.

    They loved him so much at LSU that it is like a jilted lover syndrome. But he went to where the best opportunity that was available and he is getting paid $4 million a year. The LSU fans still respect his coaching ability, but they would like nothing more than to beat Alabama on November 3rd. That will be a must win for Les Miles and LSU. Let me say this, if Les left, would the LSU fans like to see Nick come back - yes. But for now, they hate his guts.

    Q8. How do you think Saban will do at Alabama?
    SR: I don't think he will be at Alabama that long. I think if another job opens up, say Joe Paterno retires at Penn State, he may go there. I think Nick has one more move in him. Alabama is a school that gets a lot of in-state players and have real good facilities. I think the fans there will drive him crazy. It is even more rabid in Tuscaloosa than it was at LSU. Plus Auburn is not just going to roll over and go away. It's kind of funny that Nick left a similar situation at Michigan State to come to LSU. At Michigan State, he had to battle with Michigan for in-state talent. At LSU, he did not have that in-state rivalry like he does not with Auburn. He can succeed at Alabama. I could see him win an SEC championship or two then be on his way somewhere else. Alabama fans got to get used to the idea that one day he will leave there for another job.

    Q9. In a few years from now, Michigan has a two year opening where they do not play Notre Dame. It is being reported that Michigan athletic director Bill Martin wants to schedule a home-and-home with a big named football program, especially from the SEC. Have you heard anything about this?
    SR: Reportedly LSU has been talking to Penn State. They have also talked with Notre Dame to play a home-and-home again. I get the impression that Miles would not want to play Michigan if he is still at LSU. LSU is looking to play at least one quality non-conference BCS opponent every year. From an LSU perspective, Michigan is one of the very few programs that LSU has never played in football. They played Penn State once in a bowl game and they had a home-and-home with Ohio State in the late 1980s. I think it would be great to play Michigan.

    Once again, I would like to thank Scott for his is much appreciated.....

    Monday, September 03, 2007

    Early Lines

    Early line for Saturday, September 8 games

    Michigan -8

    South Carolina
    Georgia - 5.5

    Notre Dame
    Penn State - 17

    Ohio State - 29

    Virginia Tech
    LSU - 14

    Miami (Fla)
    Oklahoma - 11

    Sunday, September 02, 2007

    Sunday Baker's Dozen - Sunday, September 2, 2007

    ESPN's Mark Schlabach was in Boone, North Carolina and wrote about the celebration that took place after Appalachian State beat Michigan..... "Shortly after Appalachian State pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in modern college football history by winning at Michigan on Saturday, the goalpost came crashing down. More than 600 miles away. In Appalachian State's own stadium." .....
  • Mark Schlabach

  • Winston-Salem Journal sports reporter Tommy Bowman writes how blocking kicks is an emphasis with Appalachian State.... "A few days into Appalachian State's preseason football camp, Coach Jerry Moore made a point to single out Corey Lynch and a field-goal attempt he blocked in a practice session." .....
  • Tommy Bowman

  • Detroit Free Press sports columnist Drew Sharp gets right to the point - a change is needed in Ann Arbor.... "If Lloyd Carr wasn't seriously thinking about retirement following this season, he should start now. There's no justification for a debacle of such historic proportions. This was bad coaching. It was bad preparation. It was bad reaction." .....
  • Drew Sharp

  • Detroit Free Press sports columnist Michael Rosenberg writes about the shock of losing to Appalachian State.... "Michigan players, fans and alumni all face the same "dastardly fate," as announcer Bob Ufer used to say. Wherever they go, whatever they do, people will say: You lost to Appalachian State!" ....
  • Michael Rosenberg

  • Howie Beardsley of the Grand Rapids Press writes how Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English has problem.... "Throughout Michigan's preseason camp, Wolverine defensive coordinator Ron English confidently talked fans off ledges while telling them his young and inexperienced defense would be just fine. "I don't have any concerns," English said. He sure does now." ...
  • Howie Beardsley

  • Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Jay Mariotti writes about the Notre Dame's "thring ring circus" at quarterback.... "They didn't hire him, in the cradle of football and Catholicism, to be embarrassed 33-3 by Georgia Tech. They didn't hire him to trot out a three-ring quarterback circus that was so inept, it might require Weis to denounce his relationship with Tom Brady. They didn't hire him to lose the most lopsided season opener in Notre Dame history, dating back to the 19th century, when even Frank E. Hering kept matters close in a 4-0 loss to Chicago Physicians & Surgeons." ....
  • Baseball Archives

  • South Bend Tribune sports columnist Jeff Carroll writes that Notre Dame fans must accept this is a rebuilding year for the Irish.... "This is essentially a new team, built around new players, a new defensive system. As much as we've been told this isn't a rebuilding year, Saturday's result was an indication that that is precisely what this is." ....
  • Jeff Carroll

  • Los Angeles Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke writes about Southern Cal's deep, deep running game... "The ballyhooed USC running back pool -- deep and roiling and a big reason for the Trojans' No. 1 ranking -- spilled on to a field for the first time Saturday in the Trojans' 38-10 victory over Idaho." ....
  • Bill Plaschke

  • Gainesville Sun reporter Robbie Andreu writes how the defending champion Florida Gators rolled to win number 1.... "Ever since his arrival in Gainesville, Urban Meyer has been adamant that there is no Urban Meyer offense. The offense is what it is, he's said, designed to fit the talent of his players and different from year to year, team to team." .....
  • Robbie Andreu

  • Columbus Dispatch college football reporter Bob Hunter writes that Ohio State may be in good hands with new quarterback Todd Boeckman.... "It seems ingenious. Barton, the offensive tackle who was making his 30th start, could serve as the voice of reason. He could calm Boeckman down, tell him what to expect, give him a little primer on OSU traditions." ....
  • Bob Hunter

  • Charleston Gazette reporter Dave Hickman writes that by the time stud freshman Noel Devine got in the game, West Virginia had the game well in hand.... "By the time Noel Devine made his much-anticipated debut for West Virginia Saturday, the game was well in hand and the crowd had thinned from a high of 60,563 to maybe 40,000." ...
  • Dave Hickman

  • Tuscaloosa News sports columnist Cecil Hurt writes about the debut of the Nick Saban era at Alabama... "The University of Alabama, which under normal circumstances is fiercely jealous of any scrap of college football history, was more than willing to step aside and let Michigan live in infamy Saturday." ....
  • Cecil Hurt

  • In their football preview, Birmingham News sports reporters debate whether the presence of new Alabama head coach Nick Saban will mean the end to Auburn's great run.....
  • Birmingham News